Each veteran also received a gift bag before leaving with essentials and tokens of appreciation.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As a thank you for their service hundreds of veterans were invited out to Dodger Stadium for a memorable Thanksgiving lunch. The Dodger Stadium Centerfield Plaza was decorated for the festivities and guests enjoyed music, participated in a raffle and was served by members of the Dodgers organization including Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela.
"Veterans, a lot of us, we have mental illness issues and things like that," said U.S. Army veteran Charles Flakes. "So, we're kind of like downplayed a little bit, but I'm glad the world is starting to come around and recognize us."
"They have a salute to army and salute to the veterans and everything that's going on right now and it's just amazing how it's just picked up over the years," said Mark Waters, another U.S. Army veteran. "Because at first when I got out in '89 it wasn't too much of this going on."
Dodgers officials said the veterans invited out came from various local veteran housing programs and are experiencing some degree of homelessness. The Dodgers also provided buses to ensure that all the veterans had transportation to and from the event. U.S. Navy veteran Jesus Torres said events like this help veterans in more ways than one.
"When veterans get services like this, get events like this, they feel empowered to be better," said Torres. "And here at the Veteran world what we do is help our veterans to empower themselves, make themselves stronger and at the same time serve the community like we were taught to serve."
In addition to a delicious thanksgiving meal, veterans also had the opportunity to take a photo with the 2020 World Series trophy. Each veteran also received a gift bag before leaving with essentials and tokens of appreciation. Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela said he's happy and proud to be part of an organization that does so much for our vets.
"They do a lot of stuff for the community," said Valenzuela. "And I think this team respects everyone and I think what they're doing right now says everything."